7 Examples of Fasting in the Bible
Where is Fasting in the Bible?
Fasting in the Bible is when one voluntarily denies oneself of fleshly desires and necessities like food, (especially when one faced with anxieties of life) for spiritual purposes, either to gain response from God or to show remorse for a sin committed.
• The purpose of Fasting should be to get spiritual strength to face spiritual attacks, anxieties etc.
• Fasting should also be for repentance purposes and not to make a showy display of one’s ability to stay for some time without food.
In this article, we are going to look at the seven biblical examples of fasting which will guide you when making a decision so as to know which Fasting will be suitable for your condition.
Examples of Fasting in the Bible
We are going to consider seven examples of biblical fasting and they are ;
• Complete fast
• Partial fast
• 40 days dry fast
• Group fast
• Non-food fast
• Isolation fast
• Daniel fast
A complete fast is an example of Fasting in which a person refrains completely from water or food for a period of time. It could be 12hours, 24 hours, days or weeks as the case may be. This type of fast was very common in Bible times. You can see the practice of complete fast in Jonah 3: 5,7,8.
Partial fast, unlike complete fast that requires total abstinence from food and water, as the name implies abstinence from certain foods or drinks. It is commonly called three days fast though some do extend it to seven days, two weeks or more. This type of Fasting was practised by Daniel as we see in Daniel 1.12.
40 Days Dry Fast
This has to do with abstinence from food and water for forty days (one month, one week and three days). This type of Fasting is not common in our day, Jesus Christ and Moses are good examples of those who practised this type of Fasting, having taken no food nor water. It is advisable that you should consult your doctor before signing up for this type of Fasting. At Matthew 4:2 and Exodus 34:28, there we see Jesus and Moses observing the forty days dry or complete fast.
The group fast involves a group of people who collectively come together to fast with the same mind and focus. The group fast is very beneficial individually are collective. Individuals do come together as a group to fast over a sick member or a loved one, and also over the pressing needs of the congregation.
Many today come together to fast as a group on the basis of the principle found at Mathew 18:20.
This means Fasting from other things apart from food and water, like sex, people, places of interest, entertainment, food, oils, etc, to focus on spiritual things. We can find this in Exodus 19:15, 1corithians 7:5,
This type of fast involves one going into a state of solitude without any form of distractions so as to spend with God. Often times, we read in the Bible where Jesus Christ had to isolate himself so as to spend time with his heavenly father. Though there are no laid down requirements and things to refrain from when practising isolation fast but we do know that we need to avoid distractions of all kinds when Fasting in isolation.
This type of Fasting is the most effective because it gives you time to meditate and carry out a sober reflection on God and spiritual things. When we talk about alone time with God we are referring to many areas like;
• No social media
• Your Bible (must be ads-free so as not to distract you)
• No Radio
• A notebook (no tablet to distract you)
• Possibly device-free
• No internet
• No other people around
Example Luke 5:16
At Daniel 10:8, there we find the practice of this type of Fasting. This is also similar to partial fast but what is worthy of note is that Daniel fast was powerful not because of what he gave up or abstained from, but his humble lifestyle made his fast effective and of course, the account of Daniel help us to see the blessings that came from that. Hence, a Christian needs to display total humility because the effectiveness of our fast does not anchor on how long or what we give up in order to fast but like Daniel we need to be humble and be sincere.
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